Last year I gave you DIY Christmas gift wrap ideas using a little botanical cheer. Those plain, brown paper packages are my favorite backdrop for dressing up prezzies any time of year. It’s crazy-versatile!
So what more can you do with that bargain kraft paper from IKEA? Indulge your trendy collection of hand carved stamps! If you don’t have any stamps, even better. Now you have a great occasion to try out a new craft. It’s a little tricky, but with the right tools from any good art store, you can have tons of fun. I made this little ball of yarn stamp on my second try!
My sister’s birthday presents certainly called for this yarn theme. Check out her new knitting swag: a handy, retro wool winder and an electronic stitch counter. She loved them, of course!
The little ones sent me on a hunt for the perfect acorn shape.
Six acorns later, the fruits of these labors deserve to be shared as a free crochet pattern. I’ve also been wanting to design a cut-out pattern that’s easy to read. Opportunity knocks!
Do you lose your place as much as I do when you knit or crochet? It’s the pits! This cute idea shows one line of instructions at a time, with the finished item and the abbreviations right there. No more picking up and dropping my pencil, no more flipping through pdf pages on my e-reader. It’s wonderful! I hope you’ll find it useful. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.
Day of the Dead is a colorful holiday in Mexico on the day after Halloween. Families celebrate the dead with bright yellow marigolds, wildly ornamented sugar skulls, and banners of finely perforated paper (papel picado). In the spirit of “death is the thing we all have in common,” jaunty skeletons in sombreros, traditional dresses, and pedaling away on bicycles fill every corner of these decorations.
I wanted to fill my home with the bright colors and passion of Mexico on a skull banner that would last. So, I designed four fun skull images in an easy, charming project any beginner can do. There are no charts, just simple repeated motifs–clearly explained. If you like charts, you’re bound to quickly get the hang of the motifs and can use the high-quality images as a chart. I recommend using cotton crochet thread, but the designs come out great even with sport or DK weight yarn.
Having dabbled in short films with my sister, I’m a sucker for a good parody video. I also love modernizing crochet, so what’s better than a high-quality rap video about the travails of having a crochet business?
Do you peek at Etsy shops’ sales more often than their stock? Guilty! Who wants to see the leftovers? Not me!
My custom table socks in recycled yarn are hot! This time, before they flew out the door and in the mail, I snapped some photos. Why has the furniture sock trend popped up on Etsy and Pinterest? Scroll past the pics, where I tell you.
Why are they popular?
Closed-bottom socks protect bare floors. DD ordered a long, skinny pair for when she slides her new Table-Mate tray and laptop over to the couch. Now she wants socks in every color!
Yarn bombing isn’t just an outdoor phenomenon. Outdoor yarn bombs get shabby, but indoor bombs on clocks, chairs, and vases stay awesome. Plus you get to enjoy them all the time. My yarn bombed chairs feature in the upcoming issue of Graffiti Beach magazine.
Retro + surprising + eco = hot! From crochet to tube socks, what’s old is hot again. But please, let’s forgo granny squares and macrame. Reinvent played out trends, add some ethics, and you win.
Pin what’s selling
Remember, Pinterest rivals Facebook and Twitter in sites that get you traffic.
So, keep an eye to what’s selling when you pin. What’s selling = what people search for on Pinterest = your pins come up in searches. Embroidered Vans that epitomize needlepoint? Pin it! Personalized hand made needle felted necklaces for $19? Pin it! Custom table socks in recycled yarn? Pin it!
Don’t forget the description box. Search can give you a hand, but only if you hold out yours. Fill the description box with the terms that are selling.
Pin what’s selling, get followers, increase visibility of all your other pins. Got it? Good!
Now pin your favorite table sock image above and tell me what you’ve been selling lately in a comment. You can also follow my Pinterest board of furniture socks.
Here’s a tip for you: don’t mix variegated yarns and textured patterns. Like Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, neither shines when the other’s around.
Crochet stitches are even more textured than knit stitches, which means you should save your variegated colors for knitting projects with simple textures (i.e., stockinette). Textured crochet projects in particular don’t do well with textured yarns, because the clash is even more exaggerated. Got it? Ok, I want to see beautiful Ravelry project pages from now on!
Now, enough of the technical talk! In the course of learning this lesson, there’s one gorj yarn in particular I hooked up and unraveled several times, always choosing it for the wrong project. (Yes, I’m a perfectionist!). Vanquished, I used it in a simple (stockinette!) hat & glove set and it began to belt out riffs of I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
(Somebody! Ooo! Somebody! Ooo! Somebody who lovesme!)
(Somebody! Ooo! Somebody! Ooo! To hold me in his arms, Oh!)
(Dontcha wanna dance! Say you wanna dance! Dontcha wanna dance!)
Now the color positively rustles powdered snow from a flocked blue spruce. Maybe that’s why it’s called Snowbird. I also kind of want to lick it, so I put a big scoop of mint chip on the hat and now, indeed, I think the project is a perfect match.
Fall and winter present a problem for the ladies: we love a warm head and ears, but we don’t want to mess up these well-groomed locks. American college campuses are the natural habitat for one solution: knitted headbands. Sorority sisters and Rastafarians alike (yes, I had dread locks for a decade!) can get behind the warm, chunky headband.
But ladies, must we wear a huge crocheted flower on our noggins?
Do we really need to look like everyone else?
I mean, you’ve been to Europe. You want something rad like this
but not quite this.
More like this
People always ask what I’m working on. This is it. The quest for a better headband for 2012-13, in trendy colors like espresso brown and metallics.
I love to post my works in progress and inspiration on Instagram, so follow me to see all my current projects (@knitsforlife).
Cast on an inspiring pattern like the ones below and play along!
Lately I’ve been thinking about what direction I want to take Knits for Life. When I chose a graduate school, I learned that the hardest decisions to make are a choice between many good choices. Ever day I find a new direction I could take my fiber art adventures. Exhilarating! …Overwhelming. Definitely cause for research and introspection.
Enter twitterverse. I chanced upon a podcast between two crafty superstars that was as enjoyable as joining two friends for tea, Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod and Stacey Trock of FreshStitches. They break down what it takes to make a living crocheting right down to the dollar and the minute. I learned that I’m doing what it takes, but Stacy has spent much time researching how her market works and what it means to her business. Lucky for you and me, she shares what she’s learned in the podcast in clear, simple way.
My aunt walked in to my grandma’s house carrying her laptop in a home made crochet bag and I did a double take. We crocheters always do double takes at crochet and knitting, but this was because I thought I saw her carrying a sleeve with a handle.
Duh! Everyone makes laptop sleeves, but then you have to carry it like a book. When what you really want to do is carry it like a bag. Turns out it was all a vision. My aunt was carrying a laptop sleeve by its flap as if it were a handle. I was in good company getting an idea this way. Isaac Mizrahi stops cabs to follow people on the street. Or rather, to follow their clothing.
Introducing my latest design, a laptop sleeve with a handle and in a fashionable crochet lace pattern. Buy it in fun colors or buy the pattern to make your own at knitsforlife.etsy.com.
I am pleased to show you two more yarn bombed chairs in yellow and brown to go with the white one I made a few weeks ago. Made from reclaimed IKEA furniture and covered in crocheted recycled yarn, they exude my eco-friendly hand made style. All three are on display at STUDIO Gallery in San Francisco until May 27th with the San Francisco Etsy Street Team gallery show.